Mid Wales

Welshpool crash: Mid Wales Airport manager named locally among two dead

One of the two people killed after a light aircraft crashed into a Powys mountain has been named locally as the manager of Mid Wales Airport.

Bob Jones died when the twin-engine aircraft came down on Long Mountain, close to Welshpool, on Wednesday.

Mr Jones, who was also a farmer, founded Mid Wales Airport, near Welshpool, which was built on his land in the early 1990s.

The Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) is investigating.

Dyfed-Powys Police were called to the crash scene near the village of Leighton at about 12:00 GMT.

Mid Wales Airport would not comment, but it closed for the day after the tragedy.

The airport was developed from a grass airstrip in 1990 to act as a base for companies operating aircraft in the area.

It functions both as a business airport, and for general aviation. Wales Air Ambulance's mid Wales helicopter also flies out of there.

Mr Jones was an experienced pilot and a well-known local businessman. He lived a few hundred metres away from the airport.

Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies worked with Mr Jones to develop the airport when Mr Davies was chairman of a regional development agency.

"Bob was a local farmer who loved flying," said the MP.

"It was a grass strip on the farm and he just decided to convert the grass strip.

"I became involved because I was the chairman of a local development agency at the time, and I was one of his instruments in delivering his vision.

"There are companies in mid Wales now who wouldn't be there except for Bob Jones."

Following the air crash, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service sent three engines to the scene, and police and the Welsh Ambulance Service were also there.

Dyfed-Powys Police said they were called by the airport after a twin-engine aircraft failed to return after a short flight.

"This incident involved a light aircraft which has come down on Long Mountain," said Ch Insp Martin Tavener.

"We have now located next of kin and a family liaison officer has been appointed.

"The Air Accident Investigation Branch are en route to the scene and will take on the investigation from here."

A fire service spokesperson said: "Two appliances from Welshpool, one appliance from Llanfair Caereinion, and a Land Rover pump from Llanfyllin have attended the incident.

"Two breathing apparatus sets have been in use, and a low pressure hose reel jet."

'Broken up'

Local farmer Bryan Morris, 38, said the plane crashed into a field around a mile from his house.

He said: "Part of it is in the field and part of it is in the woods so it's obviously broken up quite a bit. I haven't been over there myself as I didn't want to get in the way.

"There's still a van and a couple of other vehicles over there but that's nothing compared to earlier."

Mr Morris said he did not see or hear the crash, even though he was outside at the time.

He said: "I was outside in the field and saw some smoke but didn't think anything of it. I just thought someone was having a fire.

"Then two helicopters landed, so I knew then something must have happened."

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